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Consumer watchdog called as Perth masquerade ball mystery leaves guests fuming

Mystery surrounds an exclusive, "A-list" ball that was set to be held in Perth on January 2 while a New Year's Eve luxury boat cruise with the same organiser left a number of ticket holders fuming.

Scores of masked partygoers queued outside the Empyrean Function Centre in Lake Street, Northbridge only to be turned away as there was no record of a booking for the "Perth Fashion Society Masquerade Ball".

A spokeswoman for the centre said that enquiries had been received, but no booking or deposit was ever received.

"We had people lining up outside, but nothing was booked," she said.

The organiser behind both events appears to be the "Privilege Rich List", also known as Privilege TRL.


Its facebook page and website have been taken down while an email request for comment received a one line reply:

"At this point we won't be making any statements."

Former Perth Glory player, Millionn Butshiire is believed to be the man behind Privilege TRL.

The 23-year-old, who is reportedly facing unrelated fraud charges, told Nine News Perth reporter Alice Pooley that his reputation had been tarnished by "things that have happened in my past".

"I become an easy target for everybody to say: 'You know what - we had a good time, but we can still get a refund'," he said.

Nine News Perth reported that Mr Butshiire had been accused of being part of a syndicate that scammed people out of over $300,000 in Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

"He is yet to enter a plea," Ms Pooley reported.

A post to the since deleted Facebook page on December 14 told partygoers it was "time to bring out the diamonds and pearls, glam dresses, the rolexes and tuxes! Privilege TRL's MASQUERADE BALL is proud to host Australian fashion powerhouses including AZELA, Jonté Designs and B E L L À."

Fraud squad detectives earlier appealed to anyone who bought tickets to the masquerade ball and who had a complaint to come forward.

Since then officers have investigated the matter and are satisfied that no criminal offences were committed.

However, Consumer Protection WA has fielded a number of complaints.

A spokeswoman said complaints had been lodged and the agency was looking into them.

"Anybody else who believes they have not received what they expected should contact us or make a complaint online," she said. 

"If people have bought tickets to an event that was cancelled, they are entitled to a refund. If an event doesn't reasonably live up to its description, then ticket holders are entitled to a refund."

If consumers were unsuccessful in obtaining a refund from organisers, a complaint should be made to Consumer Protection WA. Online complaints can be made here

A stylish flyer featuring a masked model invited people to the Perth Fashion Society event that was originally highlighted on eventfinda. The event has now disappeared off the site. 

Meanwhile, a number of Perth businesses found themselves caught up in the web of intrigue surrounding the event.

​Subiaco-based designer gown rental agency, Styled by Bella, was invited to supply gowns for a photo shoot to promote the ball in exchange for an opportunity to showcase its glamour dresses.

Owner Aleksandra said that she had supplied four gowns for a photo shoot that was held in a "penthouse" in Burswood.

"It was the first time I had met the guy behind the event. There were local models, a make-up artist and a hair stylist," she said.

"To be honest, we didn't really have a lot of information about the event, but it all seemed okay," she said.

Alexandra said the next thing she knew was she received an email on January 1 informing her that the ball "would not be going ahead".

"I don't know what happened, but there wasn't any money involved from my end," she said.

The boutique owner also found herself trying to comfort people online who had lost their money. 

"Did this event happen? I went to the nye party and now they can't be contacted for refunds," Jani Parker asked her.

"Hey hun, unfortunately the event got cancelled last minute, we aren't sure what happened," Styledbybella_perth responded.

"WA police facebook page has a post us asking for anyone who was due to go to the event to get in contact with them. Hope they can help," Jani Parker replied.

Alexandra said that she believed the same organisers had been behind a New Year's Eve function on the Swan River involving two boats.

Privilege TRL's New Year's Eve "champagne and caviar" cruise on the Swan River also left guests unimpressed in value for money with at least two listing a litany of failures.

One appeared to speak for many, posting:

"Hey I'm sure you're all pretty pissed and disappointed about the boat party. It was false advertising and they definitely did not deliver on what they claimed. Also the boat owners were an hour late. They have removed their page and they think they can get away with this and I think that's bullshit. Join this page, so we can rally together to at least try and get our money back."

Another was equally angry:

"If anyone is planning on buying tickets for any event hosted by PrestigeTRL. Please don't!!

"We went to the NYE party and it was an absolute disgrace. We booked tickets on the first boat but got told that one was full so had to go on the second boat. No DJ on the boat as promised and the music was played off a laptop through the sound system.

"The three hours of champagne we were promised was was only 12 bottles to last the whole boat. No pre-mixes to put with the byo drink and there was no caviar at all let alone anything decent to eat.

"No VIPs received any of their promised drinks as part of the package. Would 100% never go to an event held by the company again as nothing was given to us as promised. Disgusting! 

"They have closed their Facebook page down as the amount of abuse they are receiving is incredible."

Ticketing agency Outix responded to outraged ticket holders with a statement posted here

"To all concerned in this event. Outix and the ACCC [actually Consumer Protection WA] are currently undergoing a full investigation into the allegations that have been made against this event.

"Please understand we are a ticketing agent and in no way are associated with the promoter of this event. All necessary protocols were followed by our team and we will keep you all informed of what the next step will be.

"We ask that you are patient and let the investigation please take its course so that all involved will be given a fair chance.

"In the meantime, any questions can be directed to the promoter on privilege.trl@icloud.com. They are happy to speak and communicate with any of your concerns."